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By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief North Central)

As most states step up action to promote sports and create jobs for idle youths, the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Niger State Chapter, has scored the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello led administration low in the general growth and development of the sports sector.

While states are making efforts to improve on different sports by providing training facilities, SWAN said it is regretful that the future of sports in the state is very bleak with the alleged lukewarm attitude of the present government, except something is done and urgently too to revamp the sector.

States willing to secure the future of young men and women who have taken up sports as a vocation, invest in sports equipment to encourage the future of leaders, but this is not the case in Niger state. The SWAN members lamented this at their maiden congress, adding that it is pitiable that available facilities are in a state of disuse and others are now ‘abandoned projects’.

In a communique issued at the end of its maiden Congress which took place at the IBB Pen House, Minna, SWAN appeals to Governor Sani Bello led administration not to leave the sports sector worst than the regime met it.

The communique was signed by, Alhassan Kutigi and Abdulrazaq B. Oguntuashe, Chairman and Secretary of Communique drafting committee. They however advised Governor Sani Bello to focus more on sports, as that is the only unifying instrument to keep the idle youths out of crime and criminality.

SWAN expressed reservations over the abysmal performance of Niger state in the last National Sports Festival (NSF), ‘Edo 2020’ and in the current unimpressive outings by Niger Tornadoes Football Club and attributed the woes of the soccer team to inadequate attention on sports sector by the Niger government.

According to the communiqué, “It is said that Niger Tornadoes cannot use the Bako Kontagora memorial stadium for training because it is in a state of disrepair, no single functional Squash Court to train players as the one along David Mark road has been taken over by reptiles after it was destroyed by rainstorm about two years ago”.

On the multi-million Naira Bahago round-about sports village under construction, SWAN regretted that “The state government initiating the sports complex is commendable, but the facility, after huge sums of money have been expended, has been abandoned with no contractor on-site”.

While also calling on sports philanthropists and corporate organisations to come to the rescue of sports in Niger state, SWAN regretted that there is nothing to show commitments on the part of state government to encourage existing and hidden sports talents waiting to be tapped.

The association called for action in fixing all facilities across the state, particularly the ones within Minna metropolis, in order to uplift the standards of sports in the state. They also frowned at the attitude of the present administration to the total decay of sports facilities.

As part of measures to restore the glory of sports in Niger state, the Congress called for the total overhauling of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports Development which will involve carrying SWAN members along in all its activities for better results.

While encouraging members, intending qualified persons to commence membership registration to guarantee early production of 2022 Identification Cards, the Congress wants SWAN in Niger state to unite for the overall development of sports in the state. NNL.

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